PC sales to decline in 2012 for the first time in 11 years

For the first time since the dot-com bust 11 years ago, PC shipments are expected to decline 1.2% from last year, with an anticipated drop from 2011's 352.8 million units to 348.7 million units. PC sales have been lagging all year, with a recent study showing that out of the top four vendors, only Lenovo experienced an increase in sales. While disconcerting, the hope that back-to-school sales would boost the numbers, as is usually the case, kept everyone optimistic.

Earlier in 2012, as Intel showed off a variety of ultrabooks and the first glimpses of Windows 8 emerged at CES, the industry was hopeful that sales would increase as the year went on. Analysts believed that the innovation displayed would go on to drag lagging PC sales back up, and that all would be well. When the Q1 data came in and showed poor sales, nervousness arose, but optimism was still prevalent.

Now, as Q3 reports come in showing dismal sales and analysts anticipate the worst year of PC sales since 2001, many wonder what the future holds for the PC market. Windows 8 has the potential to boost PC sales, but few are willing to offer more than guarded speculation about how much of a boon the much-anticipated OS could be. Windows 8 will be available October 26th.

The reasons for lagging PC sales are two-fold. First and foremost, the economic downturn has caused many consumers to reevaluate whether computers – and gadgets in general – are within their budget, while many are electing to use their computers for longer durations before updating. The other issue, which could have lasting effects on the market, is the increased sale and proliferation of mobile gadgets. As smartphones and tablets become cheaper and more powerful, many are electing to eschew PCs, or to hold onto older hardware and fill the gaps with mobile gadgets.

[via iSuppli]